This is little Meghan, around 9 years old. Loving animals, posing, and acting like a model with my moody face on because It’s What Models Do! Innocent and happy and adventurous and trusting. Never would you look at this little girl and say, “She deserved it” or “She asked for it” if a crime was committed against her. So what’s changed? In photo number 7, I am 15 years old. The night after this photo was taken, I was sexually assaulted at a youth camp. In photo number 8, a month later I was raped at an after party. I am still the little girl in those first few photos, just with some more years of life. How did I ever deserve to be told that I deserved it and that I asked for it? How did I ever deserve to not be believed and to be shunned by people who think they knew what happened better than I did? I didn’t. I deserve that. That little girl didn’t deserve that.
When 13 Reasons Why came out, both Season 1 and Season 2, I was relieved. Finally, stories similar to mine were being talked about through the stories of Hannah and Jessica. Finally, people were understanding that sexual assault and rape is more common than they think. That consent is ONLY a yes, not a lack of no.
Photo number 9, is me now. Seven years on from the first assault and four years on from the second, and this photo was taken not even half an hour before a complete breakdown because of my traumas. I was so angry. Angry at the abusers, angry the people who knew who didn’t care, angry at the human race. But for once, I wasn’t angry at myself. I was angry FOR myself.
Today, I choose self love. “Self love is the single greatest act of defiance” - (@emmasimkin__)and I choose to fight for myself.
I hope that you wonderful and brave survivors, and the survivors that are yet to come, are able to get all the love and support that you need and deserve. You all inspire me. Here’s to all the warriors that have fought in silence. I hear you, I believe you, and you are so loved 💗